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Monday, March 9, 2015

The Daily Drift

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5 Scientific, Peer-Reviewed Studies That Prove Republicans Are Just Stupid

by Curtis F
There are all types of statistics that could lead one to believe that liberals are smarter than conservatives. These include the fact that “Blue States” have higher graduation rates than “Red States” and the fact that most people who seek higher education have liberal ideologies.
But in reality, these numbers provide circumstantial proof at best. We need something more. Something that fully delves into the minds of conservatives and liberals to see just what’s going on. Though the right-wingers out there might not want you to know it, studies that do just that already exist.
Conservatism, Racism and Low IQ
“Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes” is a study performed by researchers at Brock University, and it caused quite the commotion when its results were released. The researchers found that having lower general intelligence in childhood could predict conservative and racist ideas as an adult. That’s right: having a low IQ score makes you more likely to vote conservative… and be a racist.
Now this isn’t to say that all Republicans are stupid. On the contrary: I fully believe that rich Republicans are some of the smartest people in the world. They literally trick poor Republicans into thinking it’s the big bad government’s fault that they’re poor, and in doing so, they make these people vote against their own best interests.
Even though being conservative doesn’t make you stupid, there’s no doubt that being stupid makes you more likely to be conservative.
Fox News Makes You Less Informed
It’s not like we really needed a study to tell us this, but the survey “What You Know Depends on What You Watch,” undertaken by Fairleigh Dickinson University, found that watching Fox News results in knowing less about the world. Researchers asked 1,185 respondents which news shows they consumed and then asked general questions about newsworthy events.
Fox News less informed
Five questions were asked, and those who watch Fox News exclusively got 1.04 correct, on average. Individuals watching MSNBC, on the other hand, got 1.26. NPR listeners? They got an impressive 1.51. The Daily Show? Surely a “fake news” program couldn’t make you more informed than “the most watched cable news channel in America.”
Yep, as it turns out, The Daily Show viewers scored 1.42 on average. The best thing about this study, though? It asked questions to people who watch no news at all, and those individuals scored 1.22 on average. That’s right: Fox News makes you less informed than watching no news at all.
Let that sink in.
Low Effort Thought Leads to Conservatism
We live in a complex world, and understanding this world requires complex thought. It would be easy to look at conservatives who think that all Muslims are terrorists or all Mexicans should “go home” and say that they’re engaged in simplistic thought. Instead of making that assumption ourselves, though, let’s look towards science.
Researchers over at the University of Arkansas released their study [link opens PDF] “Low-Effort Thought Promotes Political Conservatism,” and things started to make sense. They performed four different studies, all of which reduced subjects’ ability to use “effortful, deliberate thought,” and they found that situations causing low-effort thought resulted in more conservative beliefs.
Heck, one of the studies found that, as an individual becomes more intoxicated on alcohol, their conservative beliefs increase. Which makes perfect sense, because if you ever saw me vote for Sarah Palin, you can rest assured that I’m drunk.
Scratch that. It’s a catch-22. The amount of alcohol it would require for me to vote for Palin would literally kill me.
Homophobia Linked to Low Abstract Reasoning Skills
Let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, there are “liberals” out there who are homophobic. That being said, homophobia is a largely conservative disease. It’s conservatives who usually hold homophobic attitudes and fight against marriage equality. With that being said, let’s look at abstract reasoning skills.
Conservatives are dumb.
A researcher out of Kent State University undertook a study he would eventually title “Abstract Reasoning as a Predictor of Attitudes Toward Gay Men.” What he found was no big surprise. Those who have lower abstract reasoning skills experience higher levels of anti-gay prejudice.
When they looked at other predictors of anti-gay prejudice, they found that right-wing authoritarian ideas were most strongly related to this prejudice. So lacking abstract reasoning and being a right-wing nut job increases your prejudice against gays. Like we couldn’t have figured that out on our own.
It’s All In The Brain, Baby
Some of the aforementioned studies show us that being dumb makes you more likely to be conservative, and unfortunately, watching conservative channels like Fox News can make you even more dumb. Of course, conservatives will likely attack these studies and say that they’re biased.
Unfortunately for them, the study “Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults” was released. The researchers in this study performed MRI scans on participants. Just so you know, there’s no way to insert liberal bias into an MRI scan.
What they found was that “conservative students had a larger amygdala than liberals.” Conversely, the anterior cingulate cortex of liberals students had more gray matter than their conservative counterparts. Here’s why that’s important:
“The amygdala is… active during states of fear and anxiety. […] The anterior cingulate cortex [is] a region of the brain that helps people cope with complexity.”
And the best part? This is biological. There’s no arguing the point. Liberals’ brains are biologically more able to handle complex thought, and conservatives base their beliefs on fear.  This study isn’t hard to believe when one considers the fear conservatives showcase for immigrants, Muslims, minorities and any of the other million things they’re bigoted towards. Hence the success of the 24-7 fear cycle of Fox News.
These are peer-reviewed studies, by scientists who cumulatively have more degrees than I’ve got houses in my neighborhood. Conservatives can try to say they’re biased all they want, but as we know from their beliefs on climate change, they don’t subscribe much to the area of science.
Conservatives are dumb… it’s a scientific fact.

The Truth Hurts


President Obama Gave One of His Most Amazing Speeches Ever in Selma

Speech The Presidential motorcade drove slowly over the Edmund Pettus Bridge with the first ever black president inside. With American flags flying on the front of the cars, the…

President Obama Obliterates Any Republican Hopes That Keystone XL Will Be Approved

president obama south carolina town hall
President Obama appeared to crush all Republican hope that Keystone XL will ever be approved while he is president during a town hall in South Carolina.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, for those of you who haven’t been following this, the Keystone pipeline is a proposed pipeline that runs from Canada through the United States down to the Gulf of Mexico. Its proponents argue that it would be creating jobs in the United States. But the truth is it’s Canadian oil that’s then going to go to the world market. It will probably create about a couple thousand construction jobs for a year or two, but only create about 300 permanent jobs.

The reason that a lot of environmentalists are concerned about it is the way that you get the oil out in Canada is an extraordinarily dirty way of extracting oil. And obviously, there are always risks in piping a lot of oil through Nebraska farmland and other parts of the country.

What we’ve done is I vetoed it because the Congress was trying to short-circuit a traditional process that we go through. I haven’t made a final determination on it, but what I’ve said is, is that we’re not going to authorize a pipeline that benefits largely a foreign company if it can’t be shown that it is safe and if it can’t be shown that overall it would not contribute to climate change.

And you might think, well, you know, getting warmer, that’s no big deal — folks in South Carolina, we’re used to dealing with hot weather; we can manage. But understand that when you start having overall global temperatures go up, even if it means more snow in some places, or more rain in some places — it’s not going to be hotter in every single place, but the overall temperature is going up — that starts changing weather patterns across the globe. It starts raising ocean levels. It starts creating more drought and wildfires in some places.

It means that there are entire countries that may suddenly no longer be able to grow crops, which means people go hungry, which then creates conflict. It means diseases that used to be just in tropical places start creeping up, and suddenly we’ve got a whole new set of, say, insect-borne diseases, like malaria, that we thought we had gotten rid of, now they’re suddenly in places like the United States.

We start running out of water. It puts stresses and strains on our infrastructure. Hurricanes become more powerful when the water is warmer, which means a lot of our coastal cities and towns are put at risk.


I just want you to understand, what I just described, it’s not science fiction, it’s not speculation. This is what the science tells us. So we’ve got to worry about it — which is part of the reason why we’ve invested in things like green energy — trying to increase fuel-efficiency standards on cars; trying to make sure that we use more solar and wind power; trying to find new energy sources that burn clean instead of dirty. And everybody here needs to be supportive and thinking about that because you’re the ones who are going to have to live with it.

And I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve doubled the amount of clean energy produced since I’ve been President. We’re increasing fuel-efficiency standards on cars, which will save you, by the way, money at the pump. Don’t think that just because gas prices are low right now — that’s nice, it puts some more money in your pocket, but that’s not going to last. So don’t start going out and saying, oh, I’m going to buy a big gas guzzler now — right? Because the trajectory of the future is that gas — oil is going to get more expensive. It’s going to get harder to extract. We’re going to have to transition overtime to a new economy.
Those do not sound like the remarks of a president who is inclined to approve Keystone XL. In fact every time the president has spoken about Keystone, he states that he has not made a final decision, but he makes the exact argument that opponents of the pipeline use.
It is easy to see that there is virtually no chance that Keystone XL will be approved while Barack Obama is president. The president is not giving Republicans a shred of hope. It is obvious that he doesn’t support the pipeline, and his remarks were a destruction of the Republican hope that Keystone will ever be approved.
In other words, President Obama intends to continue to stand up for clean energy, and Democratic values by opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.

Hillary Email Scandal Evaporates As Democrat Reveals The Contents Of Clinton Emails

adam schiff clinton emails
Rep. Adam Schiff dealt a death blow to the Clinton email scandal by going on CNN and revealing that members of the Benghazi committee have already read the Clinton emails and they contain nothing.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said, “We knew as of last summer that the Secretary used a private email account. This is not something new. We knew also that she was cooperating. She was giving us everything that we asked for. Nothing changed except for the pressure on the Republican members of the committee this week became too great for them to resist from the Stop Hillary PAC people and the RNC people, so they issued a subpoena for records that we already have. Now, the Secretary has called for those records to be made public. Why isn’t the chairman doing that? Why aren’t we doing that? The reason is we’ve read them. There’s nothing in them. My colleague says well, how do we know we have them all? The reality is that if this secretary or anyone else emailed a stand down order as this mythical claim exists out there, there would be several people on the receiving end of that email. There would be people at the Pentagon, people in the field who would have to receive that order. None of that. There is no evidence of that.”
Rep. Schiff brought up a great point. If there were anything in the emails, Republicans would have quickly made the emails public in order to build and prolong the story. The fact that former Sec. Clinton has called for the emails to be released, but Republicans refuse to make them public, speaks volumes about what this “scandal” is really about. The subpoena for documents that they already had in their possession is straight out of the Republican Benghazi playbook.
Every Secretary of State over the last nearly 20 years has used private email. There is no scandal here. There is no smoke. The is no fire. It’s just Republicans trying to create a scandal because they are terrified of Hillary Clinton. Clinton and the Democrats are doing the right thing by demanding that the emails be made public. If there is anything damaging in her emails, let’s see it.
Why are Republicans afraid to show the American people what is in the emails? Eventually, the emails will be made public, and everyone will be able to see that there is nothing in them. If Republicans had something, they would be using it. The fact that they are trying to heighten the conspiracy while revealing no evidence demonstrates that the Clinton emails are another desperate Republican fantasy.

Democrats Benefit From GOP's Internal Struggles

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., right, hugs House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., during a signing ceremony for Winners in a bruising struggle with Republicans over homeland security funding and immigration, minority Democrats had unity on their side, along with a politician's understandable fear of terrorist attacks and the Constitution's separation of powers.
The tea party-aligned, bitter-end Republican losers had outrage, and in the House, an unbending unwillingness to compromise that some of their own rank and file judged counterproductive.
The result was a rout that some Republicans say — and Democrats no doubt hope — portends poorly for their party.
Republicans "have got to find a level of cohesion where we can at least pass legislation that we get to the president's desk," said Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida as the party's attempt to roll back President Barack Obama's immigration directives flamed out. "If we can't do that, we fail to govern and we lose 2016."
Whatever the long-term implications of Republican divisions, the lessons of this one episode seem simple.
In the current version of divided government, Republicans must avoid significant divisions of their own and have enough Democratic votes in the Senate to assure passage of legislation they favor. They hold the biggest majority in decades in the House. Yet on the pivotal vote of the struggle, an attempt by their own leadership to pass a three-week stand-alone funding bill, more than 50 defected, empowering Democrats.
In other cases, Republicans will need even more Democratic votes in both houses to enact laws over Obama's opposition.
Their recent failure to override his veto of a bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was evidence of that. A measure to rein in the president's ability to negotiate a nuclear accord with Iran looms as another test.
But they never had a chance of prevailing over Obama and the Democrats in their attempt to condition funding for the Department of Homeland Security on a repeal of the administration's immigration directives
"We all knew how this was going to end," said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., during the week as the final scenes of struggle played out.
At the end, House Speaker John Boehner publicly sympathized with the rebels who had resisted surrender the longest, but like Dent, expressed no surprise about the outcome.
"I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president," said the speaker, who had outlined as long ago as late last year the general strategy that was pursued. Yet he said if legislation weren't approved, a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security would result, and sketched a doomsday political scenario. "Imagine if, God forbid, another terrorist attack hits the United States."
He also said, correctly, that Senate Republicans had "never found a way to win this fight," and noted that the issue was already before the courts, which would ultimately decide the outcome.
There was no surprise in that, either. At a two-day Republican lawmakers' retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania, this winter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell explained to rambunctious House Republicans that it often takes 60 votes to prevail in the Senate, where Republicans hold 54 seats. Afterward, some House members told McConnell he was going to have to try harder to persuade Democrats to vote across the aisle.
Actually, a faction of House conservatives made it harder on McConnell.
Legislation drafted for the House in January approved funding for the Department of Homeland Security if the president agreed to roll back a directive that eased the threat of deportation of millions of immigrants.
Demanding more, dissidents insisted on a second concession. They changed the measure so it also called for the reversal of a separate Obama directive that had eased the threat of deportation of so-called "dreamers," immigrants who had been brought to the United States illegally as children.
The result was to solidify Democratic opposition in the Senate and expose divisions among Senate Republicans, some of whom recoiled at the prospect of changing the status of Dreamers.
Throughout the struggle, it was a Republican article of faith that Obama had exceeded his constitutional authority in issuing immigration directives. After all, Republicans said the president himself had said he lacked the power.
"This is about trying to defend the Constitution," said Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona.
Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, a first-term lawmaker, said the House was "is in this mess because of the unconstitutional decisions from the president."
Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona said he was saddened at having to choose between "funding our national security or standing for the Constitution."
However heartfelt the rhetoric, members of Congress don't have the power to rule a presidential act unconstitutional.
Only the courts can do that.
"When there are differences of opinion as to what is constitutional and what is not constitutional, a court makes that determination," said Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, delivering a gentle refresher course on the Constitution to those on his own side of the aisle.
It's been that way, he pointed out, since a case the Supreme Court decided in 1803.

The 'Liberal' Media

'Responsible' Gun Owner Kills Iraqi Newlywed Taking Pictures Of Snow

by Susie Madrak
Responsible Gun Owner Kills Iraqi Newlywed Taking Pictures Of Snow
If I could just take off the snark suit for a moment: You'd think, at some point, I'd get numb to these "responsible gun owner" stories. But I don't. Even more than the tragic toddler and baby shootings, though, these stories about immigrants who left their countries and came all this way for a better life -- those are the ones that really get me. Because it feels like we, as a nation -- we just failed them.
Dallas police said a man was fatally shot while he was outside taking pictures of the snow early Thursday.
Officers responded to a shooting call in the 9900 block of Walnut Street at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday and found 36-year-old Ahmed Al-Jumaili, who police said had suffered a gunshot wound.
Witnesses told police that a group of men was randomly firing a gun. Police said Al-Jumaili was in a nearby parking lot taking pictures of the snow when he was shot.
Al-Jumaili was transported to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where he died from his injuries, according to Dallas Police Department spokeswoman Monica Cordova.
[...] Al-Jumaili's family told NBC 5 that he was a newlywed who arrived in the United States from his native Iraq 20 days before the shooting. They said he had never seen snow before.
"He just bought a car," Al-Jumaili's father-in-law Mohammed Al Taae said. "[He was] trying to find a decent job to start his life."
UPDATE: Police are investigating this now as a possible hate crime.

Todd Starnes Says Muslim Holy Days in Public Schools Persecute Christians

It is difficult to have an intelligent conversation with somebody who wants a holiday which falls in the fall to be called the "mid-spring break"…
Fox News’ Todd Starnes, who I believe has the unfortunate role of being the male version of the appallingly clueless Elisabeth Hasselbeck, got together with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council the other day to talk about the terrible persecution of Christians in this country.
What has them so riled up? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision Wednesday to put two Muslim holidays on the school calendar: Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr. New York City is not the first city to do this, but it is the biggest.
The news had predictable results: rights for Muslims means persecution of Christians.
Tony Perkins: But yet when it comes to Christmas and Easter, two very prominent Christian holidays, they’re not on the school calendar, they’re called ‘winter break’ and ‘spring break.’
Todd Starnes: Oh yes. For the sake of tolerance and diversity, that normally means the Christians are going to be discriminated against or their holidays are going to be minimalized.
Starnes told Perkins that one of the holidays (Eid al-Fitr) falls during the summer and so “will only impact kids going to summer school.”
And Right Wing Watch’s Brian Tashman helpfully pointed out that,
Easter always falls on a Sunday, which would explain why it is not on a school vacation calendar, while Christmas does in fact appear on New York City’s list of school holidays [PDF]. The city’s schools are also closed for Good Friday, along with the Jewish holy days of Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Passover.
Why didn’t the two complain that those Jewish holy days persecute Christians? Well, because Jews aren’t Muslims.
Instead, Hasselbeck-like, Starnes went on to complain, “For the sake of tolerance and diversity and inclusivity, don’t you think they should rename it something else, like mid-spring break or something like that?
Never mind that Eid al-Adha falls on September 24, which is not in the spring.
Which led to this exchange:
Tony Perkins: If they’re going to be consistent. When 85 percent of the population identifies as Christian but we can’t have a Christmas holiday because it’s religious but yet we can have Muslim holidays, something is not right there in New York City, in ‘The Big Apple,’ something is rotten.
Todd Starnes: You’re absolutely right, Tony. And how many times have we seen this, where the Islamic faith is being given accommodation and the Christian faith and other faiths, quite frankly, are being marginalized. Not just in the public work space but also through the Obama administration.
Tony Perkins: I think the Obama administration has created the environment for policies such as this.
But he’s not. He’s wrong. So is Todd Starnes, who, as The Friendly Atheist is more than happy to point out at Patheos, makes a career out of “making sh*t up.”
First of all about how many Christians there are. In fact, only 77 percent of Americans, not 85 percent, still self-identify as Christian as of 2012 (as it has been falling for years, the percentage is certainly smaller today).
Protestants haven’t been a majority since 2012 and fully one in five Americans is unaffiliated. In 2012, that was 46 million people who were categorized as “nones.”
And alarming as it is that anyone would want to do this in the face of the Constitution’s direct prohibition, only 57 percent of Republicans – barely more than half – want to make Christianity the state religion of the United States. At this point, it’s a relief to discover that almost half of Republicans are still loyal Americans. It’s not as bad as I thought.
In fact, I’m downright encouraged.
Finally, here’s a startler for you: specifically white Christians, the Tony Perkins type, are no longer a majority in 19 U.S. states.
Another point to be made here is this pretend concern for “other faiths,” which Starnes and other conservatives are only too happy, as professed Christians, to themselves marginalize.
And their argument can be turned around: they complain that if Christmas is called ‘winter break,’ and that therefore a Muslim holiday should be “mid-spring break,” but if, as they insist, Christmas is Christmas, why are they objecting to Eid al-Adha being called Eid al-Adha?
If they’re opposed, can’t we start talking right now about a “war on Eid al-Adha”?
And please, let’s not pretend that if it were called something other than Eid al-Adha that Perkins and Starnes would not still be complaining, because a Muslim holy day would still be the reason for the holiday.
Here’s the problem in a nutshell: The New York Times quotes Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), as saying, “When these holidays are recognized, it’s a sign that Muslims have a role in the political and social fabric of America.”
Just ask Pamela Geller: “What do all of these disparate players – Obama, de Blasio, Sharpton, CAIR – have in common? A shared goal: the destruction of America.”
The Republican obsession with CAIR borders on the pathological, ironically proving, more than ever, that CAIR serves a vital function in this country.
Yet it is less CAIR here than the reality of Muslims “having a role.” Perkins and Starnes (and Geller) don’t want Muslims to have any role. They don’t want Muslims to be here at all, to have First Amendment Rights period, let alone any influence.
There is no persecution of Christians in America, and granting equal rights to other religions is not an attack on Christians unless, like Perkins and Starnes, you interpret Religious Freedom to mean “freedom for Christians only.”
The First Amendment says we all have equal religious freedoms and unless and until traitors like Perkins and Starnes overthrow the Constitution, it will remain that way.
Can I get an amen?

Link Dump

Each American produced $140,000 in goods, but median wage is $28,000
And half a million people with college degrees are making minimum wage
America's poorest 11 cities
Life after a minimum wage increase
Our nation's love of guns is killing our children
Wingnuts sent $50 million to scam pacs

Maher Slams Republicans For Claim That Obama Doesn't Love America

Real Time's Bill Maher took Republicans like Rudy Giuliani to task during his New Rules segment for continually claiming that President Obama doesn't love America, or doesn't love it in a manner which suits them.
Bill Maher ended his show tonight revisiting last month’s controversy over whether President Obama loves America. And Maher just had one question: why are Republicans “obsessed” about Obama either not loving the country or loving it “the wrong way”?
Maher said the GOP views America like children, because unconditional love is “not how grown-ups think.”
He compared Republicans to “parents who think their kids can do no wrong” and when the school tells them their child did something bad, they yell at the school.
As Maher explained, it's perfectly acceptable to love America and still be critical of the bad things our country has done and he wrapped it up with this.
MAHER: You know, when it comes to America, conservatives, they're a little like blackout drinkers. They remember all the good stuff about the night before, the laughs, the winning at beer pong, but no recollection of the bad. The pissing in the lobby fountain, groping coworkers, wiping out the Indians.
Which is a shame because you can't turn the page on America's bad stuff if you won't print the page to begin with, if you won't acknowledge that many of the good things that America has done are actually reversals of bad things America did.
I think it's great that gave the Indians the casino business in America and I'm proud of the Emancipation Proclamation. I'm proud of women's suffrage, of the Civil Rights Act, of legal gay marriage in 37 states and counting, but all of that wouldn't have been necessary if we hadn't been dicks in the first place.


Rand Paul comes out

Se. Rand Paul (R-KY) - Fox News screencap
In an interview with Bret Baier from Fox News, potential GOP presidential nominee Rand Paul came out in support of “traditional marriage,” before admitting that using the term ‘marriage’ for same sex couples offends him.
According to the Washington Blade, the Kentucky senator who describes himself as a “libertarian conservative’ has strong feelings when it comes to how marriage is defined.
“I think marriage is between a man and a woman. Ultimately, we could have fixed this a long time ago if we just allowed contracts between adults. We didn’t have to call it marriage, which offends myself and a lot of people,” he told Baier.
Paul went on to describe the bond between two adults  as more of a business than a loving relationship, saying, “I think having competing contracts that would give them equivalency before the law would have solved a lot of these problems, and it may be where we’re still headed.”
Previously Paul said he didn’t think the government needs to be too involved in the same sex marriage debate, and shrugged off whether he might some day rethink his position.

Liars don't like the truth being used

 Fox News regular upset Google will rank by accuracy: ‘Let the public decide what’s the truth’ 
Climate change denier Marc Morano ( Fox News screencap)A frequent Fox News guest who publishes a climate-change denial blog is upset that Google’s popular web-search engine is being re-engineered to direct users to more “trustworthy” websites, saying “Let the public decide what’s the truth,” in video captured by Media Matters for America.
Marc Morano, who helms the Climate Depot website dedicated to dismissing scientific consensus on global climate change, told a reporter for Fox News that Google’s proposed changes will mean the tech giant “… is basically saying that truth is what a government agency says it is.”
The proposed changes at Google would move websites up in the rankings based upon truth and not popularity.
Morano, who previously worked for Rush Limbaugh and climate change-denying Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), says this would be put him at a disadvantage.
“We call ourselves ‘consensus busters’ because they [climate scientists] are so often wrong,” he explained. “We are the voice of the dissidents. We are the voice of the scientists who are speaking about against this so-called consensus.”
Morano was recently the subject of a documentary, Merchants of Doubt, which highlighted his ties to the fossil fuel industry.

The Truth Be Told


Republican Claims Undocumented Immigrants Kill Americans ‘Every Day’

"Every day, all along border states, maybe other places, there are murders by people who have been arrested coming into this country," Pete Sessions (R-TX) said. 

Republicans are Trying to Blame President Obama for the Poverty They Created

by Allen Clifton
One of the things I find most interesting about Republicans (and conservatives in general) is the blatant way in which they ignore reality if it doesn’t suit their ideology. These are the people who accuse President Obama of putting this country in danger, while praising George W. Bush – the man who presided over the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history and whose Iraq War is the reason why ISIS has risen to power.
It never ceases to amaze me how many problems they cause and then try to blame on everyone else.
Look no further than the recent close call with the Department of Homeland Security almost being shut down. If funding hadn’t been approved, it would have been entirely the fault of House Republicans - just like it was when we saw our nation’s first government shutdown in nearly two decades in 2013. In both instances Republicans tried to blame President Obama, when it was House Republicans who were holding everything up by refusing to vote on a “clean” funding bill.
Even when we look at our economy, as much as it’s improved, we still have a ways to go – especially as it relates to income growth. And while Republicans will have you believe that stagnant wages are a byproduct of President Obama’s economy, this is an issue that started way back when Ronald Reagan was elected.
Hell, even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) proved how damaging trickle-down economics has been for the middle class when he pointed out that we haven’t seen such an unequal distribution of wages in this country since just before the Great Depression. While he pointed to 2012 as an example in trying to bash President Obama, what he failed to mention was that the four consecutive years prior to the 2008 crash almost exactly mirrored the unequal distribution of wealth we saw in this country just before the Great Depression.
Just look at this chart from CNN Money:
Do you see that wide, fairly flat area in the middle? That’s the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s – before “Reaganomics” took over our economic landscape. Then once Americans started being fed the lie that “tax cuts create jobs,” suddenly income inequality skyrocketed. The rich are doing better than they ever have before; meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans aren’t seeing anything close to that same level of success.
And even though many Republicans will say that wage inequality is an issue, they continue to claim that the mistake which caused this inequality is the same path to fixing it.
It’s absurd.
The truth is, every time a Republican says that wages aren’t increasing and income distribution is an issue, they’re admitting that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. It’s an indisputable fact that the richest amongst us are doing fantastic in this country. Taxes remain low, stocks are at record levels and the wealth at the top has hit historic proportions – yet, wages for the rest of us remain flat.
Trickle-down economics has been an abject failure for everybody but the rich. The basic premise is that the more the wealthiest in this country have, the better off the rest of us will be. But that never happens!
What does happen is that the rich simply want more. Suddenly, $5 billion in profits isn’t enough – they want $8 billion. The more you feed into greed, the more it wants. Greed never gets full.
In the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s, when the middle class was stronger, it wasn’t tax breaks and deregulation that led to that result – it was higher taxes and stronger unions. The moment taxes began to get cut, and the GOP aggressively started attacking the unions, that was the beginning of the rich getting richer and the rest of us getting the finger.
But despite the fact that income distribution has been a growing problem in this nation since the dawn of “Reaganomics” in the 80′s (and after 8 years of Bush’s economics and GOP leadership delivering us straight into the worst economic recession in almost a century), Republicans now have the gall to try to blame President Obama for the poverty they created and the income inequality that their policies have made worse.
It would almost be funny if they weren’t actually being serious and millions of people weren’t suffering because of it.

After Passing Anti-Worker Law, Wisconsin GOP Preps Three More Attacks

Americans Would Prefer Denmark Social Safety Net &Taxes If Informed

by Egberto Willies
Last year Denmark was ranked the happiest country in world. This year Denmark is ranked the second happiest country in the world topped only by Norway. They are both successful high tax, very good social safety net (universal healthcare, unemployment compensation, retraining, free or affordable higher education, etc.) countries. They are both democratic.
Denmark and other Scandinavian countries weathered the 2008 Great Depression better than most of Europe and the United States. They did this even with what Americans would consider a bloated public sector.
Many will argue that these countries are small in comparison to the US and as such it is not a good comparison. Many will argue that the wealth from North Sea Oil reserves is partly the reason. Many will argue that because these countries are strong welfare states that they are less competitive.
The reality is Americans have been lied to or allowed to wallow in their own ignorance. They have been taught to believe fallacies that counter one’s intuition. Once this indoctrination is complete, change towards progress is non-existent or painfully slow.
If one is to believe in the economy of scale, America’s size makes efficiency even more possible than in these small countries. America is extremely rich with natural resources, not only oil. The problem is that it is distributed unfairly among the few that ‘stole’ it or bought it on the cheap (e.g.,25 families own 1% of all land and the resources of that land in America).
Denmark and other Scandinavian countries’ with strong social safety nets have not made them less competitive. In fact they are way at the top of the list with the United States. Most other countries at the top have strong social safety nets as well. As a society they care more for the social, economic, and health well-being of their fellow citizens than America.
One of the reasons Denmark and other Scandinavian countries with strong social safety nets weathered the Great Recession better is that they had a built in stimulus. In America when one loses a job, they get unemployment for a short time (this recession was an exception). That unemployment is much less than wages and runs out quickly. That means the contribution to the economy by that laid off worker makes a recession much worse as much less money is entered into the economy. In countries with strong safety nets, workers get up to 90% of their wages. As such the economic shock from unemployment is mitigated till the economy’s ‘overstock’ is mitigated until increased employment is required.
In America we are encouraged to disregard logic and obvious reality for the sake of ideology. The ideology is present to maintain not only a status quo, but a country where only a select few will ever have the opportunity to be wealthy. It is a ‘me first’ and selfish ideology. It is an ideology where wealth is built on the backs of the middle class and the poor, Class Warfare.
Independent Senator Bernie Sander’s letter below on Denmark is probative.

What Can We Learn From Denmark?

Senator Bernie Sanders – Independent U. S. Senator From Vermont
Independent Senator Bernie SandersDanish Ambassador Peter Taksoe-Jensen spent a weekend in Vermont this month traveling with me to town meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. Large crowds came out to learn about a social system very different from our own which provides extraordinary security and opportunity for the people of Denmark.
Today in the United States there is a massive amount of economic anxiety. Unemployment is much too high, wages and income are too low, millions of Americans are struggling to find affordable health care and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider.
While young working families search desperately for affordable child care, older Americans worry about how they can retire with dignity. Many of our people are physically exhausted as they work the longest hours of any industrialized country and have far less paid vacation time than other major countries
Denmark is a small, homogenous nation of about 5.5 million people. The United States is a melting pot of more than 315 million people. No question about it, Denmark and the United States are very different countries. Nonetheless, are there lessons that we can learn from Denmark?
In Denmark, social policy in areas like health care, child care, education and protecting the unemployed are part of a “solidarity system” that makes sure that almost no one falls into economic despair. Danes pay very high taxes, but in return enjoy a quality of life that many Americans would find hard to believe. As the ambassador mentioned, while it is difficult to become very rich in Denmark no one is allowed to be poor. The minimum wage in Denmark is about twice that of the United States and people who are totally out of the labor market or unable to care for themselves have a basic income guarantee of about $100 per day.
Health care in Denmark is universal, free of charge and high quality. Everybody is covered as a right of citizenship. The Danish health care system is popular, with patient satisfaction much higher than in our country. In Denmark, every citizen can choose a doctor in their area. Prescription drugs are inexpensive and free for those under 18 years of age. Interestingly, despite their universal coverage, the Danish health care system is far more cost-effective than ours. They spend about 11 percent of their GDP on health care. We spend almost 18 percent.
When it comes to raising families, Danes understand that the first few years of a person’s life are the most important in terms of intellectual and emotional development. In order to give strong support to expecting parents, mothers get four weeks of paid leave before giving birth. They get another 14 weeks afterward. Expecting fathers get two paid weeks off, and both parents have the right to 32 more weeks of leave during the first nine years of a child’s life. The state covers three-quarters of the cost of child care, more for lower-income workers.
At a time when college education in the United States is increasingly unaffordable and the average college graduate leaves school more than $25,000 in debt, virtually all higher education in Denmark is free. That includes not just college but graduate schools as well, including medical school.
In a volatile global economy, the Danish government recognizes that it must invest heavily in training programs so workers can learn new skills to meet changing workforce demands. It also understands that when people lose their jobs they must have adequate income while they search for new jobs. If a worker loses his or her job in Denmark, unemployment insurance covers up to 90 percent of earnings for as long as two years. Here benefits can be cut off after as few as 26 weeks.
In Denmark, adequate leisure and family time are considered an important part of having a good life. Every worker in Denmark is entitled to five weeks of paid vacation plus 11 paid holidays. The United States is the only major country that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation time. The result is that fewer than half of lower-paid hourly wage workers in our country receive any paid vacation days.
Recently the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that the Danish people rank among the happiest in the world among some 40 countries that were studied. America did not crack the top 10.
As Ambassador Taksoe-Jensen explained, the Danish social model did not develop overnight. It has evolved over many decades and, in general, has the political support of all parties across the political spectrum. One of the reasons for that may be that the Danes are, politically and economically, a very engaged and informed people. In their last election, which lasted all of three weeks and had no TV ads, 89 percent of Danes voted.
In Denmark, more than 75 percent of the people are members of trade unions. In America today, as a result of the political and economic power of corporate America and the billionaire class, we are seeing a sustained and brutal attack against the economic well-being of the American worker. As the middle class disappears, benefits and guarantees that workers have secured over the last century are now on the chopping block. Republicans, and too many Democrats, are supporting cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition, education, and other basic needs — at the same time as the very rich become much richer. Workers’ rights, the ability to organize unions, and the very existence of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are now under massive assault.
In the U.S. Senate today, my right-wing colleagues talk a lot about “freedom” and limiting the size of government. Here’s what they really mean.
They want ordinary Americans to have the freedom NOT to have health care in a country where 45,000 of our people who die each year because they don’t get to a doctor when they should. They want young people in our country to have the freedom NOT to go to college, and join the 400,000 young Americans unable to afford a higher education and the millions struggling with huge college debts. They want children and seniors in our country to have the freedom NOT to have enough food to eat, and join the many millions who are already hungry. And on and on it goes!
In Denmark, there is a very different understanding of what “freedom” means. In that country, they have gone a long way to ending the enormous anxieties that comes with economic insecurity. Instead of promoting a system which allows a few to have enormous wealth, they have developed a system which guarantees a strong minimal standard of living to all — including the children, the elderly and the disabled.
The United States, in size, culture, and the diversity of our population, is a very different country from Denmark. Can we, however, learn some important lessons from them? You bet we can.

Minority White Christians’ Religious War On the Constitution

president obama speaks at selma
There is a gross misconception among incredibly ignorant Americans that this nation was founded on the tenets of the Christian bible and is therefore a Christian nation. It is this willful lack of information about the nation’s founding that, in large part, is why Americans are not the smartest people on the planet. Maybe they believe that because white Christians make up the majority of the population, the Founding Fathers were wrong in creating America as a secular nation. However, according to a new study, white Christians who believe they own the right to control politics and culture in America are “losing their majority status” across the country and not just in left-leaning states.
According to data from the American Values Atlas and the Public Religion Research Institute that gathers information on political opinions, values, and religion; white Christians are now a minority in 19 states. Stunningly including “traditionally conservative states.” Still, that has not stopped an avalanche of religious right fanatics serving in legislatures and state courts from pushing theocratic edicts on the people and rejecting the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land and it is getting worse.
The Alabama Supreme Court finally revealed this week what it regards as the supreme law of the land when it put an end to same-sex marriages (again) despite a federal court ruling that the state’s ban was patently unconstitutional. When the Alabama Baptist Citizens Action Program demanded that the Alabama Supreme Court put a halt to same-sex unions in the state, despite a federal court order, the Court duly obeyed. Obviously, the Constitution’s 14th Amendment does not apply in Alabama; especially if it conflicts with a verse in the Old Testament where god says he thinks gays are an abomination; not that they cannot marry, just that they are an abomination.
Like every other religious right fanatic ignorant that the Constitution is the law of the land, Chief Justice Roy Moore said, “I can’t explain why more than 20 other states have bowed down to unlawful federal authority; but Alabama is not one of them. A federal judge has no authority in the face of a state court’s opinion on the same matter.” It was an interesting use of the religious term “bow down,” but put more aptly, 20 other states understand and adhere to the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause as law of the land; not the bible.
In West Virginia this week, religious fanatics voted to override Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of yet another unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban because something about bible and fetal pain. Fetal pain at 20 weeks is an impossibility according to all known medical and biological science simply because the nervous system is not present or developed. However, in the religious fanatics’ bible v. science war, the bible prevails. However, in the Christian bible that fundamentalists claim is the supreme law of the land, the immutable word of god says there is no living being, or a person, until a fetus breathes air. Both times Governor Tomblin vetoed the legislation, he rightly cited that the legislation “unconstitutionally restrict access to abortion and will not survive a court challenge.” However, like Alabama, West Virginia’s Christian legislature rejects the Constitution and clings to Catholic Humanae Vitae ideology; something that is not in their precious Christian bible.
What is even more telling about the ideological fanaticism of the evangelical legislature’s actions, is that abortion clinics in West Virginia already do not perform procedures past 20 weeks of pregnancy;  the very small number of women who have had to have abortions after 20 weeks were typically facing emergency life-threatening pregnancy situations in hospitals; not abortion clinics or women’s family planning facilities. The president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Nancy Northup, said, “With this action today, the politicians behind this law have revealed how far they are willing to go to advance their ideological agenda at the expense of women’s rights, lives, and safety. They should be ashamed.” They are theocrats and being so means they feel no shame.
Likely, West Virginia residents are ashamed of the theocratic legislature as well. According to polling conducted last year the theocratic legislation was quite unpopular with voters who did not want the evangelical fanatics posing as lawmakers to spend more time focusing on passing more religious abortion restrictions. However, that is the problem with religious fanatics serving as lawmakers; they could not care less what voters want any more than they care about the Constitution as the law of the land; they are soldiers in the war on religion.
In Florida this week, a religious fanatic was apoplectic over a city ordinance requiring his church to adhere to normal safety ordinances protecting church-goers and compared it to the KGB waging a war on religion in the city’s behalf. A code officer found the church and coffee bar lacked a sufficient emergency exit and failed to comply with the federal Americans With Disability Act. The officer said that the church and coffee bar’s landlord, Mission Education International, did have a valid business license for the coffee shop with a tax-exemption as a charitable organization, but the church did not have a freely available use and occupancy certificate.
The preacher took umbrage at the city and promptly cried there was a war on religion saying, “I think it’s very important that people are not afraid to practice their faith.” Naturally,  the ‘onward Christian soldiers‘ at the evangelical Liberty Counsel joined the religious war and sent a letter to the city demanding that it immediately stop requiring churches to pay for business licenses because they are doing god’s work and in America they get a free ride. However, according to the city manager, Mike Bornstein, the war must obviously be based on some horrible religious misunderstanding because churches are not ever obligated to pay those fees.
Liberty Counsel naturally went on the offensive and claimed the city threatened the landlord with foreclosure and daily $500 fines, but the city’s letter had no mention of those penalties. What the city’s letter did mention was that it was offering any assistance necessary to make sure the certificate would be issued quickly. The letter said, “The application form is simple to complete as your organization has completed one prior for the coffee bar. We also can schedule an inspection at your earliest convenience and apprise you of any improvements that may be required of the space or limitation on the number of occupants allowed.” All of the assistance is naturally free because it is a church and unlike other businesses does not have to pay a fee for anything.
The Florida city, like all of American cities, states, and federal government, does not require churches to pay a business license tax, property tax, income tax, or sales tax because this is America and religion gets free welfare. They are, however, required to obtain a use and occupancy certificate which officials use to ensure they do not pose public safety hazards or break any local, state, or federal laws. But this is 21st Century America and religious organizations, churches, state supreme courts, and theocratic state legislatures are immune from adhering to any local, state, federal, or constitutional laws and they damn sure have a holy book to prove it.
One might think that with a secular Constitution with no mention of Christianity, Jesus Christ, or bible, religious right extremists in the Republican movement would stop pushing theocracy on the people by government fiat; particularly because they are becoming a minority demographic. However, that may be why they are suddenly on a tear to impose their bastardized form of Christianity on the entire nation as well as why they are becoming a minority. Whether it is because they are ignorant of the Constitution as the law of the land, or intent on emulating the Taliban or ISIS is unimportant. They are engaged in a war on the Constitution, democracy, and freedom from religious tyranny and they are not going away.